- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2009

Edie to exit Wisteria Lane

ABC says Nicollette Sheridan is leaving “Desperate Housewives.”

The 45-year-old Miss Sheridan plays vamp Edie Britt on the comedy-drama about domestic life on Wisteria Lane. The network did not say Wednesday when Miss Sheridan’s role would end. Her departure was first made public by TV Guide magazine.

A call to Miss Sheridan’s publicist was not immediately returned, Associated Press reports.

“Desperate Housewives,” a top 20 show and one of ABC’s most successful series, stars Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria Parker.

WGA may punish Jay

A year has passed, but the Writers Guild of America West is still reviewing the possibility of disciplinary action against Jay Leno for “Tonight Show” monologues he delivered while the guild was on strike, Variety says.

The guild has brought disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Leno, who is a Writers Guild of America member and a writer for his NBC late-night show. The specifics of the proceedings are unclear, but the process should come to a head soon, Variety said Wednesday.

According to the strike rules, the WGA distributed the guild’s constitution - which gives it the authority to hold hearings to review claims of violations of strike rules and to discipline members - to its members before the strike began on Nov. 5, 2007. Discipline may include “expulsion or suspension from guild membership, imposition of monetary fines or censure,” according to the WGA’s strike rules. There is an appeals process.

A WGA West rep declined comment on the Leno matter, and it is unclear whether the guild is pursuing strike-related disciplinary proceedings against any other members, Variety says.

The guild’s flap with Mr. Leno started in January 2008 when he and other late-night hosts - including NBC’s Conan O’Brien, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert - went back on the air for the first time since the strike had begun.

Mr. Leno was a vocal and public supporter of the guild and “The Tonight Show’s” striking writers at the outset of the walkout. Like other late-night hosts, he paid his production staffers out of his own pocket during the dark weeks in November and December 2007. However, when “The Tonight Show” returned with new episodes on Jan. 2, 2008, WGA raised a ruckus about Mr. Leno “writing” his monologues, Variety notes.

Fox now a ‘Cougar’

TV Land has signed actress Vivica A. Fox (“Independence Day,” “Soul Food”) to host its upcoming reality show “The Cougar,” the Hollywood Reporter says.

The eight-episode series centers on an older woman’s search for love among a pool of younger bachelors. The show is scheduled to premiere April 15.

“I’m so excited to be the guide for ‘The Cougar’s‘ quest for love,” says Miss Fox, who has a recurring role on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “This show will prove to be empowering and enlightening for women everywhere. Plus, 20 hot guys gathered under one roof doesn’t hurt.”

Showtime: More ‘Tara’

Showtime’s series about a woman with multiple personalities is getting a second season.

The premium cable network has ordered 12 new episodes of “The United States of Tara,” which is set to go back into production this summer. It kicks off its second season in early 2010 with its entire cast intact, Variety reports.

Factoring in encore runs, “Tara” has averaged 2.1 million viewers in the four weeks since its Jan. 18 premiere.

“Tara” was created by Oscar winner Diablo Cody (“Juno”) and is produced by DreamWorks Television, with Steven Spielberg as executive producer.

On tap tonight

40th Annual NACCP Image Awards (8 p.m., Fox) - Oscar winner Halle Berry and writer-actor-director Tyler Perry host the gala celebration honoring achievements by people of color in the arts and literature. Former Vice President Al Gore and African environmentalist and political activist Wangari Muta Maathai receive the Chairman’s Award; Jennifer Hudson and Seal are among the performers. The ceremony airs live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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